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Ever wondered which artists are the best live performers?

Here at SeatGeek we looked at overall popularity versus ticket revenue for a few well-known artists, who are currently on tour, to determine the best live artists. Popularity was measured by looking at the number of weeks the artist has made it onto the Hot 100 chart in the past 4 years, as well as their online fan base on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Last.fm. Ticket revenue was calculated by looking at the average amount of tickets sold per day on the secondary ticket market, in addition to their average ticket price during the past year. By doing this, we were able see if their popularity and concert sales lined up. This comparison revealed the best live artists on tour today.

[See also: 30 Under 30: Top-Selling Gen Y Artists]

Best Live Artists

Of course there will always – and should always – be debate about the best artist to see live today. But fortunately for us here at SeatGeek, we have a vast collection of data to help us provide a mathematical answer to this question. We know the answer can’t simply be derived from ticket demand figures, but we wanted to share them anyways and encourage debate in the comments below or with us on Twitter or Facebook.

The 50 Best Live Artists 2012

ArtistPopularity Score2012 Rank

U2 1022807 1
Bruce Springsteen 433548 2
Coldplay 366200 3
LA Rising 365473 4
Eminem 359425 5
One Direction 351060 6
Paul McCartney 348243 7
Taylor Swift 340003 8
Jay-Z 338343 9
Lady Gaga 305888 10
Red Hot Chili Peppers 255209 11
Kenny Chesney 226233 12
Katy Perry 173840 13
Beyonce 164980 14
Brother Sun 147478 15
Radiohead 146487 16
Jimmy Buffett 142774 17
Roger Waters 138824 18
Van Halen 129233 19
Bon Jovi 119422 20
Justin Bieber 114154 21
Metallica 113724 22
Dave Matthews Band 113014 23
Adele 110250 24
Allman Brothers 109014 25
George Strait 107250 26
Phish 105285 27
The Eagles 97725 28
Foo Fighters 95239 29
Marina and The Diamonds 94147 30
Aerosmith 92220 31
Powerhouse 91812 32
Other Lives 91244 33
Tool 88901 34
Swedish House Mafia 88307 35
Neil Diamond 88117 36
Muse 87378 37
The Cure 85587 38
New Kids on the Block 84540 39
Rush 83620 40
Lauren Alaina 82797 41
Eric Clapton 82693 42
The Throne 82135 43
The Strokes 82037 44
Nashville Rising 78956 45
Usher 77364 46
Drake 77243 47
Kanye West 76919 48
Alex Sensation 75188 49
Bob Seger 74452 50

You’ll see that, even though we featured Lana Del Rey as a 2012 artist to watch, she did not make the list because she is still not a tour headliner, but rather opening for Justin Bieber who came in at 21st on the list.

Best Live Artists 2011 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Infographic on best live artists

View more top live artists of 2011 >

The data showed that Dave Matthews Band was easily the most popular live concert this past year, relative to their popularity off the stage, suggesting that DMB is the best live artist to go see. Despite having zero hit singles make the Hot 100 in the past four years, more Dave Matthews Band tickets are sold each day than tickets to see Justin Bieber, who has occupied the charts for 157 weeks. Smilarly, the average price for DMB tickets is higher than both Taylor Swift tickets and Katy Perry tickets.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Rihanna. Having occupied the billboard for 159 weeks in the past 4 years, as well as having one of the largest online followings of all artists, we found Rihanna’s concert sales to be shockingly low in comparison. Given her growing popularity, her low ticket sales suggest that she is not as impressive on the stage as she is in the recording studio.

Take a look at the graph to see how well your favorite artists do on tour, relative to their popularity. Once you’ve decided which bands and artists give the best live performances, head to SeatGeek to find the best deals on concert tickets!

Update:
Check out Rihanna’s 2013 Talk This Talk Tour Dates